Setting up SHOUTcast - Your first internet radio station

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1. SHOUTcast

Definition: It's a free tool that permits to broadcast audio on Internet, using MP3 as compression format.

The SHOUTcast broadcasting system uses three components (they are the same in almost every broadcasting solution out there).

Listening: In order to be able to tune in the SHOUTcast broadcast, listeners (final users) must have a MP3 audio compatible player.

Examples of MP3 compatible players:
Windows: Real Player, Winamp
Mac: iTunes
Linux/ X Windows: XMMS

Broadcasting:

If you want to produce your own station you must decide first, the broadcasting method, there are many options available, so you should consider several option before you decide which one is the best for your situation:

Running a server:

You are going to need a lot of bandwidth to broadcast your station, we will consider the cheapest options first (the free ones ;-) then you should move to something more reliable and with better tools.

Please remember this guide is aim to be used by beginners, so if you already know the first steps, just skip them.

Downloads:

In order to setup you radio station using SHOUTcast (under Windows) you are going to need the following software:

Winamp (As of July 22, 2007, today, the version available is 5.35) Click to download the latest version

SHOUTcast DPS Plug-in which adds SHOUTcast broadcast ability to the Winamp player

For Windows users:

DPS Plug-in (503Kb)

For MAC /Os X / Free BSD and Linux users:

DPS Plug-in (226Kb)

Server:

We are going to use SHOUTcast server Win32 version, in order to setup a very basic radio station using only one machine (your computer)
Please note that the server uses a lot of resources, but we are setting up a local radio station under a learning/testing environment, don't expect to have all your friends connected and listen to you brand new station through this configuration; unless of course, your internet access provider include unlimited bandwidth in your account; you should consider a web hosting service when you are ready to launch you station to the public.

Let's Begin

  1. Download and install Winamp
  2. Download and install DPS Plug-in
  3. Download and install SHOUTcast Server

Allow the installers to use the default configuration.

Setting Up the Server

Select: Start - All programs - SHOUTcast DNAS - SHOUTcast DNAS(GUI)

SHOUTcast server main screenThere are many options to play with, but we are going to modify only those necessary to run our mini station:

From the GUI menu select «Edit Config»

  • Locate the section named Required Stuff
  • Locate the parameter MaxUsers and modify it to something realistic, let's say 5

    I'm going to quote those parts extracted from the ReadMe file that comes with the server files:

    Explanation to MaxUser:

    MaxUser. The maximum number of simultaneous listeners allowed. Compute a reasonable value for your available upstream bandwidth (i.e. if you have 256kbps upload DSL, and want to broadcast at 24kbps, you would choose 256kbps/24kbps=10 maximum listeners.) Setting this value higher only wastes RAM and screws up your broadcast when more people connect than you can support.”

  • Locate the parameter Password and modify it, take note of this value, we will need it later

    Explanation to password:

    “Password. While SHOUTcast never asks a listener for a password, a password is required to broadcast through the server, and to perform administration via the web interface to this server. This server should consist of only letters and numbers, and is the same server your broadcaster will need to enter in the SHOUTcast Source Plug-in for Winamp. THIS VALUE CANNOT BE BLANK.”

  • Locate the parameter PortBase, we are going to use the default value, but we may need to modify it if our server fails due to a busy port.

    Explanation to PortBase:

    “PortBase. This is the IP port number your server will run on. The value, and the value + 1 must be available. If you get a fatal error when the DNAS is setting up a socket on startup, make sure nothing else on the machine is running on the same port (telnet localhost portnumber -- if you get connection refused then you're clear to use that port). Ports < 1024 may require root privileges on *nix machines. The default port is 8000.”

  • Save and close the ini file, kill (close) the server (using the menu option) in order to allow changes to take effect.

Installation under Operating Systems other than Windows


Although most steps should be the same or very similar, I haven't tested them under other operating systems, so please don't try to follow the guide if you aren't using or setting up a radio station under Windows. We've included links to the direct download of several versions

SHOUTcast FreeBSD 5.x server
SHOUTcast Linux server (glibc)
SHOUTcast Mac OS X server (Mac OS X 10.3+ / Mac OS X Server 2 10.3+ -- CONSOLE -- no Aqua interface)
SHOUTcast Solaris Sparc 2.x server


Setting up the DPS plug-in

SHOUTcast configuration

  1. Open Winamp
  2. Select Menu - Options - Preferences - Plug-ins - DPS/Effect - Nullsoft SHOUTcast source DPS v.xxx (xxx depend on your installed version)
  3. Click on Configure active plug-in (This action will open The SHOUTcast Source Window)
  4. At this point you should know the IP address used by your connection, if you don't know your IP address follow the next steps:

 

 


IPConfig under DOSA. Start - All programs - Accessories - Command Prompt
B. Type ipconfig «ENTER»
C. Take note of the number in front of the line IP Address
D. Close the Command Prompt Window

 

 

 

 

Output tab options

Output tab screenshot

1. Under output list select Output 1
2. Click on connection button
-. On address type your IP address (yes, the one that you took from ipconfig
-. On port type 8000 (default)
-. On password type the password that you used setting up the server (case SEnSiTIvE)
-. Check Automatic reconnection...

 

 

 

 

Encoder tab options

 

Encoder Tab options

1. Under Encoder list select Encoder 1
2. Encoder type select MP3
3. Encoder Settings Select Speed and format (remember, use a realistic option here, do not setup a stream quality that you connection can't handle)

 

 

Input tab options

 

Input Tab options

1. Input device: select Soundcard input (we are going to broadcast "live", the server will use whatever is on your sound card)
2. Soundcard mixing options are by default correct, unless of course, you want to add your voice to the signal, in that case, modify those settings to match your requirements.

 

 

 

 

 

Believe it or not you are ready to broadcast your first radio station

1. Close Winamp and SHOUTcast DNAS Server (just to be sure that all changes take effect)
2. Open and Minimize SHOUTcast DNAS server
3. Open Winamp - Select Output tab
4. Click on connect button... at this point you are broadcasting your radio station, provided that your soundcard is on (I mean something is playing in your computer: music, sound, your voice...etc)

To connect to your brand new station, (preferably using a second computer)

Open Winamp or Real Player (remember in the remote computer)
Select File open or open URL (depending on your player options)
Type your IP address:8000 (Example: 192.168.7.12:8000)

That's it,

Variation Server name and station gender:

  1. Open Winamp
  2. On SHOUTcast Source window select Output tab
  3. Click on Yellowpages button
  4. Type your station's name
  5. Type your station's genre

These two options aren't necessary but, it will nice if you provide your listeners with this basic info.

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